What interested you in founding a startup, and where did the Vino name originate?
Ever since I was a kid, I loved making things work better. I learned how computers worked by reverse engineering video games. I learned how to program when I was eleven, so I could automate homework. I had a hard time sitting still, which made working at large companies like Riot Games and F5 difficult. No matter how great the job was, I could never resist the pull of quick-moving, small companies and the high-risk/high-reward stakes of startups. I joined Shape Security in 2014 and helped build the platform that brought Shape from no customers and no product to a $1b acquisition. At Shape, I witnessed how difficult it is to scale people and how small choices add up to mountains that stop companies in their tracks. I also saw how many of those choices originated in engineering decisions. My co-founder and I addressed what we could at Shape but knew we could take it further.
The thought is that code and software, like wine, should get better with age. It shouldn’t be seen as a liability that continually needs to be maintained with exorbitant costs, and it shouldn’t need to be rewritten every few years. If you build a good chunk of software, it should be seen as an asset that continues to be valuable and not something that weighs you down.
What problem does Vino solve, and how is it different than what came before?
Our mission is to democratize software, to make it easy for new companies to go from zero to enterprise-scale without rebuilding 30 years of technology or committing to high-cost cloud subscriptions. To do that, we need to close the gap between what you can easily build today and where modern expectations. This gap exists due to waste like integration and boilerplate that produces no differentiable value. To close this digital divide, we must reduce costs by focusing on things like authentication and storage to democratize our industry while increasing efficiency with technology through deep integrations with operating systems or whatever else might supplement your business needs without bogging down performance too much in return.
In essence, we are doing for software what USB did for hardware back in the ’90s. Computers used to have tons of ports for all the different connectors used by peripherals like printers and scanners – but then came along USB that made it possible to plug these devices into a single port on computers without having to worry about compatibility issues or switching between cables. We are making software as pluggable as USB to let companies focus strictly on the parts that add value, not how it all connects. Our platform lets people focus only on core business logic instead of wasting time on menial and redundant tasks.
Vino is a composable application platform that gives you a shortcut from idea to reality. Similar to lego blocks but for software – Vino applications are made of building blocks that you can reshare, remix, and reuse anywhere.
Tell us about the Vino team and where you are today as your startup grows?
We are in the early stage of testing and proving our platform while building up multiple layers. Our streamlined team of three is proving that we can walk the walk by using the Vino platform in our own work while also working with partner companies by releasing our first wave of Vino-related tooling, libraries, and documentation. The most recent release carves out the section of the Vino platform that can stand on its own while we continue working on the runtime. We are taking our time before fully exposing it to the public as we focus on building for other companies. Vino is at the consulting and contracting phase right now, where we work directly with teams to build solutions on the Vino platform and ensure successful outcomes.
How can CED and the entrepreneur ecosystem help Vino grow?
We want to build as much as possible and the quality network of peers available through CED gives us access to people who work at companies who have needs that can be met with software. We want to show how easily we can help companies as they scale. We would love to be building APIs, public or private, data migrations tools, command-line tooling, internal tools – anything that allows us to provide value for companies while building on our platform. We’re at the bleeding edge of software technology where we’re based heavily on a technology called WebAssembly. WebAssembly is difficult to work with but is a very promising, transformative technology. We can provide companies a lot of early value by giving them a shortcut around the frustration to take advantage of WebAssembly today.
What’s the next stage for Vino Technologies?
The next stage is to deliver templated applications as a service to show how people can use the platform. Applications like blogs or custom ‘if this then that’ pipelines. Afterward, we can show how easily the applications compose onto each other to build entirely new applications. The final stage of this iteration is to release the runtime and the platform to have people build their own custom applications with new and reused components.
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